What Christians Ignore About Modesty

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In 1 Peter 3 we are instructed (like in many other places in the Bible) to not allow our adornment to be outward, in jewelry and braided hair and scandalous dress. But this statement is followed in the same breath with another: "[Adornment shall not be outward] ... But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit ..." (KJV). It mirrors perhaps the most beautiful description of what a righteous human spirit can be: the Beatitudes, where we are told exactly what godly modesty entails.

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
(Matt. 5:3-10, NIV)

In reading that our nakedness is shameful and our pride is sin, many of us stop there and move no further. We seek only to cover or root out the wrongful adornments and do not seek to find the adornments that are beautiful before God. In doing so, we miss the beauty of sanctification. We are sinners, but we are also God's children, and there exists in us every capacity to be meek and quiet and peaceable, hungering and thirsting for righteousness. A modest spirit is one of reliance on God in our struggles and pains, and that is what I'd like to see men and women of God crying out for in one another.

Reprinted with permission from Theologues.org. Cyra Thompson is a 22-year-old vegan housewife, with a laptop and a coffeemaker to keep her company. She has a husband, a son in heaven and a cat. She attends Calvary Chapel and holds no denominational affiliation. 

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